[Report of the Director for Housing, Planning and Regeneration. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal.]
This report will seek approval to award one construction contract for housing development at both St Mary's Close and Nightingale Lane and to appropriate the land for planning purposes.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal introduced the report which sought approval to appoint the recommended contractor to complete a new build development of five Council rented homes; two at St Mary’s Close N17 and three at Nightingale Lane N8, and to appropriate the land for planning purposes to facilitate the development process.
It was noted that on approval, these developments would be the seventh and eighth scheme to move to a start on site, of the 58 schemes in the Council housing delivery programme that the Council intends to directly deliver itself. It will be the twelfth and thirteenth schemes to move to a start on site in the overall programme.
Five new Council homes in two wards – two three-bedroom homes and three two-bedroom homes – meant that five households who are not currently adequately housed would be living in homes that met their needs.
Further to considering exempt information at item 27,
Reasons for decisions
St Mary’s Close and Nightingale Lane was approved by Cabinet on 9 July 2019 to be included in the Council housing delivery programme. This scheme has subsequently been granted planning consent and is ready to progress to construction. This report therefore marks the third, and final, Member led decision to develop these two sites.
Following a formal tender process, a contractor has been identified to undertake these works.
The appropriation of the site for planning purposes is required as it will allow the Council to use the powers contained in Section 203 to override easements and other rights of neighbouring properties and will prevent injunctions that could delay or prevent the Council’s proposed development. Section 203 converts the right to seek an injunction into a right to compensation. The site will need to be appropriated back from planning purposes to housing purposes on completion of the development to enable the Council to use the land for housing and let five new Council homes at Council rent.
The new development at St Mary’s Close and Nightingale Lane will also allow the Council to regenerate the land, helping to reduce the anti-social behaviour currently attracted to the sites, improving the security and aesthetics for the surrounding existing residents. In addition, the development will help support delivery of the Borough Plan, Priority 1: “Our vision is for a safe, stable and affordable home for everyone, whatever their circumstances”.
Alternative options considered
It would be possible not to develop these sites for housing purposes. However, this option was rejected as it does not support the Council’s commitment to deliver a new generation of Council homes.
This opportunity was procured via a direct appointment from the London Construction Programme (LCP) Major Works 2019 Framework Agreement, the recommended route for a contract of this value. An alternative option would have been to run a competitive tender from the LCP, but this option was rejected due to limited interest from the framework contractors.
The Council could continue with these schemes without appropriating the site for planning purposes, but this would risk the proposed development being delayed or stopped by potential third party claims. By utilising the powers under Section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HPA 2016), those who benefit from third party rights will not be able to seek an injunction. Making use of this power allows the Council to override these third rights and allows the third party to make a claim for compensation only The Council recognises the potential rights of third parties and will pay compensation where a legal basis for such payments is established. The housing delivery team actively engaged with residents about the development of these sites as they proceeded through the feasibility and design stages and any comments or objections raised were taken into consideration by Planning Committee in reaching its decision. For these reasons, this option was rejected.
The Council could decide not to appropriate the land for housing purposes upon practical completion of the building works. This option was rejected because it could prevent the Council from being able to offer up these homes for occupation as social housing thereby not supporting the delivery of much needed affordable homes.